The Psychology of Interviewing: RuNT Austin Recap
RuNT is always a big undertaking for our company. It’s also fun, worthwhile, rewarding, and each event ends up being among the highlights of our year.
While I plan and curate the Portland events (with tons of help from my teammates, of course), I’d never made it down to Austin for one of theirs. Sure, I’d helped with the marketing and such, but being there in person hadn’t been an option before. Spoiler alert, reader: I was there this time around.
The Psychology of Interviewing was our topic this time around, and we pulled together an incredible spread of speakers: Psychotherapist Claire Griffy, Design Director Kristin Holloway at Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Hal Riley, Head of Studio at DSNxMFG. We wanted to talk not only about how to be interviewed and what a creative employer is looking for, but also at what happens in the brain and the body when a person is under stress.
Before we dig into that, it’s worth nothing that one of our attendees wrote a recap of her own, pulling out insights we never envisioned when we came up with the topic. Behold, Becca Chavoya‘s wonderful thoughts on Using Psychology to Build Strong Agency-Client Relationships.
She already knows those she’s interviewing have the skills; their portfolio has gotten them in the door, so their work is definitely good enough. But what she can’t know ahead of time is whether or not her workplace will be a good fit for them. As she said it, “I don’t want you to work for me if you’re not excited about this.”
Claire Griffy brought our audience through what’s happening to the body and nervous system during an interview; our neuroception is based on safety and danger, and will give or take away depending on the state we’re in. Interviews put us in between those two states. Certain things are easier or harder depending on how our body perceives a situation: eye contact is easy if you’re feeling safe and socially engaged – it’s much harder if you feel in danger, “frozen,” or in that “fight or flight” state.
Additionally, her most important takeaway (for me), was that a stressed brain goes for fitting in over belonging. So if you’re stressed out during an interview, you may sell yourself to the interviewer rather than demonstrating your true self. While this may be a short term win (you get the job, yay!), it can create a long term problem (you’re not the right fit for the job or it’s not what you wanted).
All of her slides are viewable here, for those who want to really dig in on the science of all this.
Kristin Holloway is a Design Director, meaning she’s hired hundreds of creative employees over the years. She has found better outcomes from interviews when she works to sell the company back to the company. After all, she already knows those she’s interviewing have the skills; their portfolio has gotten them in the door, so their work is definitely good enough. But what she can’t know ahead of time is whether or not her workplace will be a good fit for them. As she said it, “I don’t want you to work for me if you’re not excited about this.”
“I have the power!”
Her best advice for a potential coworker: know who you are now and how you want to grow. After all, if someone’s hiring you, they want you to stick around – your five year plan is important. Your next steps are important. Will you offer what the company needs?
Hal Riley’s main point? That creatives have a super power! Not everyone can do what you do (whatever it may be), and that you should never forget it. In fact, we all chanted “I have the power!” at the top of our lungs.
1. Respect your craft
2. What you do is NOT clipart
3. Respect yourself
4. The world needs you at your best
5. Never be desperate
6. Be prepared
7. Know your value
8. Interview them
9. Don’t compromise yourself
Big thanks to everyone who came out – it was an incredible night to share with you all. To our host, the Brew & Brew; our pizza sponsor, Via 313; and our beer sponsor, Friends & Allies; thank you for helping to bring our community events to life.
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